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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

SECOND PERSECUTION                        289

were underpaid, underclothed, and underfed, and the barracks were in
a shabby condition. Corruption was rampant and discipline kx.
Officers and soldiers were given to gambling and drinking. It was the
kind of army that would run away and evaporate before any battle. Su
Tungpo started to have the barracks repaired, enforced sharp discipline,
dismissed and punished the corrupt officers, and made it possible for
the soldiers to be welj-clad and well-fed.

When some of the non-commissioned officers saw that Su Tungpo
was punishing the corrupt officers, they came to inform against their
superior officers. "This is none of your business," Su Tungpo told them.
"It is all right for me to deal with it. If soldiers were allowed to inform
against their superiors, what would happen to army discipline?*" And
he had these informers also punished. He had a sharp sense of the
respect due to him as a military superior. He put on military uniform
and held dress parades with his majors and adjutants standing accord-
ing to rank. The military chief, Wang Kuangtsu, was an old, arrogant,
jaundiced general who had been in command of the army at this place
for a long time, and he now felt that he was being shorn of his power.
On the occasion of a dress parade, the general refused to take part. Su
Tungpo commanded him to appear, however, and the old general had
no choice but to obey.

The tragedy of a monarchy arises from the fact that, for the cgtain-
tenance of a royal house in power, it is necessary that the queens pro-
duce, in unbroken succession, good, wise, and able sons, grandsons, and
great-grandsons—a biologically unwarranted assumption unknown to
human experience. As geniuses do not produce geniuses, so sooner or
later wise kings produce wicked or feeble-minded progeny. The peace
and good government of a country and sometimes the course of history
are made dependent upon the entirely fortuitous and uncontrollable
transmission of the genes of one line. Nature provides that no single
family shall have a monopoly of talent, and so Louis XVI just was not
Louis XIV, and George III was not a replica of George II. Both the
French Revolution and the birth of the American republic owed their
success largely to the neurotic kings.

The boy of eighteen who now ascended the throne was known to be
very fond of women and had frequently cancelled his qlasses. The seed
of the young man's hatred against the Yuanyu officials was already
planted when these scholars wrote both to the boy Emperor and to his
grandmother against his indulgence with women and negkct of his
studies. The Emperor was always surrounded by twenty grown-up
girls, who were supposed to attend to his personal comfort, which was
quite in accordance with the tradition. As he told Chang Chun later,
the Emperor suddenly found one day that ten of the girls had teea